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Workington Stadium plans put on hold

Plans for a new 8,000 all-seater stadium for Workington, England look set to be shelved after local councillors called for changes to the size and scale of the project.

The stadium would have been shared by Workington Town rugby league club and Workington Reds football club and built on the site of the current Borough Park.

The venue was also set to host matches at the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.

But now Allerdale Borough Council’s Executive has said it will look further into the business case for the new community stadium.

The councillors considered a report from the Overview and Scrutiny Committee which had decided on 11 April, 2019 to recommend further work on the business case behind the plans. The scrutiny committee had called-in the decision made by the previous Executive on 22 March 2019, to proceed with the stadium scheme.

The new Executive has spent the last few weeks considering the plan and at a meeting Executive members asked questions about the potential cost of the project and potential financial risk to the council.

Leader of the Council, Marion Fitzgerald said:

A great deal of work has been done by councillors on the Executive committee to get to the bottom of the business case and understand it. We have also reached out to Workington Reds and Workington Town to make sure any decision we made was fully informed.

There’s no question the clubs’ need modern facilities and a new stadium would benefit them and wider the public. But we have to balance that with the risk to the council and serving the needs of the whole borough.

The new stadium was expected to be completed by the spring of 2021. The plans included an 8,000 capacity stadium, hospitality and conference facilities, and a 3G training pitch on nearby land.

The scrutiny committee had originally questioned the comparisons with other stadium projects elsewhere in the country, the importance of the project for the hosting of the Rugby League World Cup and the proposed stadium’s sustainability.

The original decision made by the previous administration had agreed to finance the scheme using an investor/developer route. This meant that the council would have used a developer to both finance and build the stadium with the council having to act as guarantor for the income streams.

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